By JIM WALLER
Being a dutiful husband, Capt. Bill Gallery built his wife a golf course.
The Naval Air Station Whidbey Island course, then called Rocky Point, opened in 1949 with six holes.
When Capt. Gallery became base commander, he encouraged continued improvements to the facility, in part to please his wife, an avid golfer.
The course then grew to nine holes and eventually added the back nine in 1954.
Because of the efforts of Capt. Gallery and his wife to upgrade the facility, the course was renamed Gallery Golf Course in the couple’s honor.
The improvements spurred by the Gallerys haven’t stopped, as managers and superintendents adjusted and tweaked the course continually since its inception to provide a better golfing experience.
Among the major improvements were the installation of new ponds and irrigation system in 2002 and a new maintenance facility in 2009.
Although it is the NAS Whidbey Island course, it has been open to the public for the past 15 years.
The 72-par, 6,351-yard course was re-classified by the Washington State Golf Association in 2015 and has a rating of 70.1 and a slope rating of 122.
It recently received the highest rating, five-star, by the CNIC for the programs it offers for Morale Welfare and Recreation.
The course, which offers majestic views of Puget Sound, also has a full complement of practice facilities, including a putting green, chipping area and driving range.
The clubhouse, which was originally part of a railroad roundhouse that moved targets for gunnery practice by aircrews, includes a pro shop.
The Gallery’s Men’s Golf Association meets the first Saturday of each month and plays a variety of tournament formats.
The Women’s Club gathers at various times to meet the needs of its members, and the course hosts Ladies’ Night every Thursday from June through September.
For the younger set, a weekly junior league is offered and junior camps are held throughout the summer.
The Gallery’s major tournaments are the Men’s Invitational in August and the Rainier Cup Tri-Service Tournament in June.
The Rainier Cup is a three-day tournament that includes a round each at the Gallery and the base courses at Fort Lewis and McCord.
Wayne Dorrenbacher, course manager and director of golf operations, said the Gallery is considering adding a Women’s Invitational and is looking into a travel competition against area clubs.
Teaching pro John Forbes, a graduate of the Florida State University golf management program, came on board last April.
He will be offering a spring tune-up package. Those who sign up for a round between 8 and 10 a.m. on Saturdays will receive a free 10-minute lesson.
For more information, call the pro shop at 360-257-2178 or visit the website, www.gallerygolfcourse.com